Is Tim Sherwood actively limiting Rudy Gestede's influence for Aston Villa?

Tim Sherwood Press Conference 12/02/2014

Aston Villa’s Rudy Gestede has struggled since his summer mover from Blackburn.

Gestede arrived from Blackburn Rovers over the summer, and he netted on his competitive debut for the club, scoring the winning goal over Bournemouth on the opening day.

However, he has failed to replicate those goalscoring feats, and still just has that goal to his name, despite now being six games into the season.

Many are suggesting that he was a poor signing, and one that is not good enough for the Premier League, but Gestede’s strengths are in his physicality and aerial ability, with manager Tim Sherwood seemingly limiting the striker’s impact.

The tactical set-up Sherwood has Villa playing does not utilise Gestede’s best strengths, as although he is the second most prolific winner of aerial duels in the Premier League, Villa are rarely playing the ball long to him.

On average, Gestede wins 6.7 aerial duels per game - second to only former Villa star Christian Benteke - but Sherwood’s team only rank mid table in terms of the number of long balls they play per game in relation to their Premier League rivals.

They are slightly more willing to cross the ball, ranking in seventh in the Premier League table for the number of times they play the ball from the wide areas into the box, but considering Gestede’s strengths, Sherwood should be utilising him much more.

Gestede was signed as no more than a target man, having proven his exceptional, but one-dimensional, ability in the Championship. However, Sherwood is playing a system which does not utilise a target man to his best abilities, and the manager should seriously consider changing his set-up if Villa are to get out of their goalscoring rut.

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